- Magic Club 5 #1 – Bad Moon on the Rise
- Magic Club 5 #2 – Werewolves of Fredericksburg
- Magic Club 5 #3 – Of Wolf and Women
- Magic Club 5 #4 – Hungry Like The Werewolf
- Magic Club 5 #5 – Little Red Riding Hood
- Magic Club 5 #6 – Bark at the Moon
- Magic Club 5 #7 – The Animal She Has Become
- Magic Club 5 #8 – She-Wolf
Jeremy fidgeted, trying hard not to look half as panicked as he felt. “W-what do we do now?”
At the same time, Angel herself was looking at Jennifer wide-eyed. “You mean that the vânători is… like you?”
For a moment, Jennifer ignored them, eyes focused on the picture. She’d been working in the craft long enough to tell quality work and the tracking spell on Garth’s whiteboard had not been quality work. It was dashed up in a hurry with very little care about fully forming the runes. That would make the spell inaccurate—though by how far she wouldn’t be able to tell without consulting one of the Books.
That could indicate someone new to scribing spells doing a poor job, or someone so used to casting that they knew it would be inaccurate but functional, favoring speed over precision. The latter made since given the caster would have been standing in the middle of a dorm hall drawing on Garth’s whiteboard. Then again… Jennifer glanced at Angel out of the corner of her eye… it could also mean that someone just copied the spell from a picture on the internet, not caring if it worked or not. In fact, the picture only showed the symbol on a whiteboard—it could have been drawn on any board and passed off as Garth’s to throw them off.
“Okay.” She said, taking a cleansing breath. “It’s safe to say none of us is going to class today. First thing’s first, we have to get out of here.”
Angel flinched from her at the suggestion. “Out? But what about the Garth’s killer? What if they come after me?”
“Out.” Jennifer confirmed. “If this van-tour guy is a spellcaster, locking and barricading the door isn’t going to stop them. Think about it: are they more likely to kill you out in public in the middle of campus—or in a nice, private dorm room?”
“I-I see what you mean.” Angel said.
Jennifer handed her back her palmtop, then took out her own. “Jeremy, I’m reserving the Red conference room above the student union for the four of us, plus Angel. Can you take here there?”
The young man nodded timidly. “Yeah, sure. Um… what are you going to be doing?”
“Checking this floor for spells.” Jennifer lied smoothly. “It’s possible the vanitor—”
“Vânători.” Angel corrected.
“Bad guy.” Jennifer decided. “Them. It’s possible they set up some other spells around here besides the tracker. It won’t take long, I’ll meet you at the conference room in a few minutes.”
Jeremy gave her an uncertain look, but Jennifer kept her expression firm. She was the leader of the group, by dint of being the one who took the initiative if only that. Reliable, level-headed Jennifer, who the others deferred to because she was usually right or wrong in the least incorrect manner.
Slowly, the uncertainty melted (though it didn’t dissolve), and Jeremy nodded. “Alright.” He looked to Angel, still wary. “Um… come with me.” It was hardly the heroic banter he expected to muster on the occasion that he was called upon to protect a fair maiden from the forced of darkness, but then he never expected the fair maiden to be a force of darkness.
He didn’t really understand the whole ‘werewolf’ thing.
Jennifer watched the two disappear around the corner, heading for the elevators. As soon as she heard the ding that signified that the lift was going down, she locked and closed Angel’s door and headed to the opposite end of the hall to the stairs.
On her way, she dialed Elle.
Her bubbly roommate answered on the first ring. “Hey. I was just about to call you. My finger was right over your picture in the contacts list.”
“Great minds, Elle.” Jennifer said as she reached the landing for her floor. Pushing the door open, she asked, “And results?”
“Yeah. Weird ones.”
Jennifer pushed the door open and hurried to their room. “Tell me about it.”
Elle was quiet for a moment, then her excitement got the better of her. “How’s this for one: the guy that got killed? He was the werewolf.”
“His sister just told us.” Jennifer went to the dresser on her side of the room and pulled open the bottom drawer. “And guess what? So is she.”
“Oh.” There was a beat, then Elle said, “Ooooh. Jen, this is bad. Really really bad.”
Beneath a pile of her ugliest laundry day granny panties, Jennifer found what she was looking for: a thick, faux leather bound tome with gold lettering on the front that read ‘The Complete Works of Willa Cather’. When she opened the cover, it was revealed to be even more hollow than a normal copy, the center of the pages cut out to make room for a cheap tin jewelry box with a lock on it.
“I know.” she said, lifting the box out of its hiding place. “She was crying and everything. Not sure if I bel—”
“No,” said Elle, “I mean the animals… well they’re not exactly FBI sketch artists, but they did tell Brutus that the werewolf guy was killed by a woman my age—and she killed him with a wolf claw. You don’t think that she actually killed her brother do you?”
Jewelry box in hand, Julie went to the rooms sole window and ran her hand along the top of the frame until she found the key she’d hidden there. “I was just about to say: it’s a possibility.”
Elle made distressed noises for a few seconds before finding her voice again. “But he was her brother! And you said she was crying.!”
“Guilt, people cry all the time, Elle.” Jennifer said, swallowing the ill feeling she had over the possibility. “A psychopath might cry while they’re killing you. A sociopath might turn on the waterworks and swear they did I in self defense. Maybe it was an accident and she lost control. Maybe she just feels bad after the fact.” She sighed. “Or maybe she’s telling the truth and there really is another spellcaster on campus hunting innocent werewolves. I hate this whole thing already.”
“Say that again about another spellcaster? How come we haven’t met them before? Why didn’t the crazy lady with the tower come after them too?”
Jennifer shook her head. “I’ll fill you all in once you get back. Grab Theresa and meet me upstairs from the student union. I already had Jeremy take Angel there.”
There was another beat. “Wait…” Elle said slowly. “You think that this girl is a crazy, brother-murdering werewolf… and you left Jeremy with her?!”
“They’re in public in the middle of campus.” Jennifer reasoned quickly. On the inside, she was kicking herself. All she could think of was getting her ’emergency kit’ in case Angel wasn’t on the level. She hadn’t considered that she’d been palming the potentially dangerous young woman off on the Magi Club’s ostensibly weakest member. ”Besides, Jeremy can handle himself.”
She hoped he could at least.
“We’re on your way!” Elle said, not bothering to hide that she did not share that level of faith in the ‘push and pull’ magic their friend wielded.
Jennifer heard the connection break and heaved a sigh. Things could never be easy.
Pushing down her frustration, she put her palmtop in her pocket so she could work the key into the jewelry box’s lock. Inside was a short stack of laminated index cards with spells inscribed on them. Alongside those were several vials containing sundry reagents, some of which weren’t even found in Theresa’s kit.
She hadn’t used any of those spells, though she was fairly confident that she could cast them. There were many reasons why they were untested: lack of opportunity and need for one, lack of desire for another. They weren’t exactly dark magic, but they were spells that targeted other sentient beings and had adverse effects on the subject.
After checking to make sure everything was in order, Jennifer closed but did not lock the box—and slipped her collection of curses into her coat pocket.
“So…” Jeremy had his hand shoved in his coat pockets as he and Angel may the short walk to the student union.
Angel wore her coat open despite the chill and didn’t look any the worse for it. The atmosphere of awkwardness, however, hadn’t slipped her notice. “Yeah…”
Silence. A chill wind wafted lightly around them, tousling Angel’s hair. The walk across Ball Circle had never been longer.
Licking his cracked and chapped lips, Jeremy searched for a topic—any topic—to break said silence. “You…haven’t been out of your room all day. You must be hungry. Want to get something from the Nest before we go upstairs?” Internally, he groaned. It sounded like he was asking her to lunch.
He couldn’t even count the reasons that was wrong. For one, for all he knew, she was a murderer and possible supernatural predator by her own admission. One or both of those was probably something he should filter out of his dating pool. For another, her brother had just died. Even if she hadn’t killed him, this wasn’t the time to be hitting on her.
Angel sniffed and he glanced over at her. She’d stopped crying, but her eyes were still red and wet. It took her a minute to register that he’d said anything. “I…” She started then stopped, seeming to be unsure of her own voice. “I should probably eat something. Yeah.”
They grew quiet again, walking just far enough for each other that an outstretched arm wouldn’t make contact. Eventually, the walk split. One path led relatively straight ahead and would have taken them right up to the main doors of the student union’s ballroom and the conference rooms alongside it. The other rambled downhill toward the library, science center and gym, but not before passing the lower entrance to the student union where the post office, rec center and campus snack bar (known as the Eagle’s Nest) were situated.
Without a word or look between them, Jeremy and Angel took the lower path and went in through the lower entrance.
The Eagle’s Nest was set up a lot like a mall food court: various ‘stores’ with their own service stations serving different fare: pizza, burgers and fries, tacos, deli sandwiches, and ‘all natural’ health food with seats in the middle or in a slightly larger dining room off to the side.
Angel made her way to the sandwich line while Jeremy stepped up to the one for faux Mexican food if only because it was the shortest and he needed to keep an eye on her.
“Spicy food to warm you up after being out there all day?”
Jeremy jumped when he realized the voice was coming from behind and was directed at him. Turning, he found Honor Council President, Kelly Vigay.
She was short, only about five-four, but with an athletic build, and a round, friendly face. Most of her dark brown hair was stuffed under the faux fur trimmed hood of her long, gray wool jacket, but two braids had escaped, hanging down the right side of her face. Beneath the coat, she wore a white sweater, short, black denim skirt, and leggings with riding boots. “That’s what my logic was, at least.”
It took some effort for Jeremy to keep himself from looking around to see who she was really talking to. He knew her, but they hadn’t exactly spent leisure time together.
Kelly then confirmed his observation by leaning in closer and saying. “Wait… I know you, right?”
“Right.” said Jeremy, feeling the universe settling back into its correct alignment in which he was largely anonymous. “We’re in the same Political Science class with Dr. Meltzer. And I did the graphic design for your campaign posters.”
This instantly brightened the young woman’s expression. “Oh, I remember now. Jeremy. Sorry I didn’t recognize you are first—I’ve got a lot on my mind these days.” Her smile wavered. “Like what happened today. Have you heard?”
Jeremy swallowed and took a step back as the person ahead of him in line moved up. “Heard what?”
“About…” Kelly looked around and dropped her voice. “The murder.”
“I-I didn’t know they declared it a murder.”
“It kind of has to be.” Kelly said fretfully. “But even if it’s not, one of our classmates died. I… I just can’t believe it, you know? And they want the Honor Council to organize a campus memorial service for poor Garth.”
Regretting his choice of Mexican food for the first time in his life, Jeremy glanced back to find two people still in line ahead of him. “Yeah…” he managed.
Kelly seemed to notice his discomfort and backed off. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to put all of this on you.” She patted him on the arm. “Thanks for listening. Um… so what have you been up to?”
Maybe it was the stress. Maybe it was his lack of concentration and trying to keep Angel in view out of the corner of his eye. Or maybe it was just that Kelly was so friendly with him. Whatever the reason, Jeremy almost told her the truth.
There was no way that would have ended well, so he settled on shrugging. “Not much. Classes. Halloween’s coming up, so I’ve been looking up costume ideas…”
The brightness returned to Kelly’s face like clouds parting before the sun. “I’ve already got mine: Renee from Malady Place. Are you going to Omar’s party too?”
Having no idea who Omar was, Jeremy just shook his head. “Um… I didn’t get an invite.”
“Maybe I can pull some strings.” Kelly offered. “I do kind of still owe you for the campaign posters.”
Mercifully, the person ahead of Jeremy was done quickly leaving him at the head of the line. He waved the idea off graciously. “Oh, that won’t be necessary. I’ve got another party I was going to go to. Thanks anyway.”
Kelly shrugged “No problem. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow in class?”
Jeremy turned back around to face the counter. “Sure. See you then.” He breathed a sigh of relief at avoiding saying or doing something terribly awkward around someone like Kelly Vigay. Then he groaned at having let himself be put so on edge by something like a person being nice to him.
“I thought I was over this.” He muttered under his breath. Weekly sessions with a therapist from Junior High to Junior year and it seemed that his ‘chronic shyness’ was reemerging.
“What?” asked the guy behind the counter.
Jeremy blinked, then remembered why he was there. “Yeah, two beef burritos with rice, cheese and tomatoes.”
Order complete, he remembered the other reason he was there and looked over to the sandwich line.
But Angel was gone.
To Be Continued…
typo watch: rushed edition
from the forced of
We’re on your way
If he was supposed to be watching her, why didn’t he just go with her to get a sandwich?
It is a rookie mistake, but then he’s a rookie. He’s not used to thinking this way.
Besides, everyone knows escort missions are the worst, right?
It’s a big open space. It’s reasonable for him to think he could keep an eye on her from a distance. He would have too if not for the ‘distraction :p
Incidentally, the Eagle’s Nest is a real place I’ve had many a lunch at. Sadly, the burritos weren’t very good. Pizza was passable, but honestly, he should have gotten a a sandwich himself anyway.